For the Christian, every day is a day to give thanks, and yet, today our nation sets apart a day to give thanks (to who, and for what, depends on the individual American.) Christians know that the most proper language of thanksgiving is the language of prayer. While many of us prefer to offer spontaneous, specific prayers, the wisdom of the Christian tradition has shown the sometimes prayer crafted with thought and care by others can give shape and form to our own.
John Knox’s magnificent prayer of thanksgiving in the context of the Lord’s Supper is one such prayer. Though most of us won’t be celebrating communion today, meditating on these words, and praying them for yourself can help ground your own thanksgiving in the rich, foundational truths of Gospel:
O Father of Mercy, and God of all consolation! Seeing all creatures do acknowledge and confess thee as Governor and Lord: It becometh us, the workmanship of thine own hands, at all times to reverence and magnify they godly Majesty. First, for that thou hast created us in thine own image and similitude: But chiefly in that thou hast delivered us from that everlasting death and damnation, into which Satan drew mankind by the means of sin, from the bondage whereof neither man nor angel was able to make us free.
We praise thee, O Lord! that thou, rich in mercy, and infinite in goodness, hast provided our redemption to stand in thine only and well-beloved Son, whom of every love thou didst give to be made man like unto us in all things, sin excepted, in his body to receive the punishment of our transgression, by his death to make satisfaction to thy justice, and through his resurrection to destroy him that was the author of death; and so to bring again life to the world, from which the whole offspring of Adam most justly was exiled.
O Lord! we acknowledge that no creature is able to comprehend the length and breadth, the depth and height of that thy most excellent love, which moved thee to show mercy where none was deserved, to promise and give life where death had gotten the victory, to receive us in thy grace when we could do nothing by rebel against thy justice.
O Lord! the blind dullness of our corrupt nature will not suffer us sufficiently to weigh these they most ample benefits; yet, nevertheless, at the commandment of Jesus Christ our Lord, we present ourselves at this his table, which he hath left to be used in remembrance of his death, until his coming again: to declare and witness before the world, that by him alone we have received liberty and life; that by him alone thou dost acknowledge us thy children and heirs; that by him alone we have entrance to the throne of thy grace; that by him alone we are possessed in our spiritual kingdom to eat and drink at his table, with whom we have our conversation presently in heaven, and by whom our bodies shall be raised up again from the dust, and shall be placed with him in that endless joy, which thou, O Father of Mercy! hast prepared for thine elect before the foundation of the world was laid.
And these most inestimable benefits we acknowledge and confess to have received of they free mercy and grace, by thine only beloved Son Jesus Christ: for the which, therefore, we thy congregation, moved by thine Holy Spirit, render all thanks, praise, and glory, forever and ever. Amen.
–John Knox, quoted in Worship: Reformed According to Scripture, Hughes Oliphaunt Old, pp. 136-137
Soli Deo Gloria
P.S. On a personal note of thanksgiving, aside from the many blessings God has given me, this will be my 300th post on the site.